Best Turkey Ever!

Drunken Turkey

Drunken Turkey

 ”Gourmet Fast Food

I strive to find and write about recipes for incredible dishes that are easy and simple.

Although this recipe is lengthy,  it does not require many ingredients or time per step. We have worked on this recipe over the last four years, changing it a bit here and there, and each year it has gotten better.

I posted the pictures of our turkey swimming in brine and many asked me how we prepare it…so, I am going to share our “Ancient Hamilton Recipe”! This takes approximately 3 days from start to table.

How did the turkey become the centerpiece for our Thanksgiving table?

As I prepared to put this article together I was curious about how turkey was chosen to grace our Thanksgiving table. Through the years the turkey tale has had many interesting twists and turns.

If turkey was served at the first Thanksgiving (a much debated topic) it shared top billing on the menu with venison, other water fowl and seafood.

Many of our early presidents proclaimed Thanksgiving to be a day of thanks: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, even Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. But Thanksgiving was not deemed a National Holiday until 1941 when Congress passed the bill and FDR signed it. Thanksgiving was slated to be on the fourth Thursday in November.

Turkey became the Thanksgiving star for it’s size, it was large enough to serve the many family members who came together to celebrate. After WWII turkey stole the show as the star of the Thanksgiving table due to the breeding of larger hybrid birds and a viral USA marketing campaign pushing the turkey as a highlight of the holiday.

In fact, today 90% of all American families serve turkey at Thanksgiving and more than 240 million turkeys were raised in 2013.


I am not a chef or Betty Crocker, so if you have questions about cooking your turkey, get ahold of the experts! This article from People Magazine should answer most of your questions:

12 ‘Burning’ Thanksgiving Questions For a Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Expert

Or call the experts direct at 1-800-BUTTERBALL. Each year these turkey specialists help more than 3 million chefs get a fully cooked and flavorful turkey on the table!

A Drunken Twisted Turkey

Make sure that you give the turkey adequate time to thaw. Place it in the refrigerator days before cooking, or thaw in a skin of cold water, 30 minutes for every pound.

A 16 pound turkey would take 8 hours to thaw.

The Brine Process

(Remove the wrapping and the innards and wash the turkey before placing in the brine.)

From Whatscookingamerica.net

“This is the secret that chefs never tell you about. It’s very easy and economical, and requires no special cookware. Brining is like a marinade, as it keeps food moist and tender. Brining or salting is a way of increasing the moisture holding capacity of meat resulting in a moister product when it is cooked. Salt changes the structure of the muscle tissue in the meat which allows it to swell and absorb water and flavorings which results in a tender turkey or chicken once cooked.

          Who wouldn’t want to eat a tender, moist, and flavorful turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner? Give it a try!”


Brine Ingredients:

  • 5 bottles beer; best beers for this recipe: Blue Moon Belgian White, Honey Moon, Harvest Moon, Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale, or Winter Lager. I am looking for a beer with sweetness, orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger.
  • 1 Gallon Water
  • McCormick Pickling Spice
  • 2 Cups Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 10-12 oranges (6 for brine, 2 for marinade, and remainder to stuff in turkey when baking.)

A large container is needed to hold both the brine and the submerged turkey. I use a canning pot so that I can heat the brine and later add the turkey. Some use a tub lined with garbage bags or a chest cooler, you can enclose the turkey and brine in the garbage bags and surround with ice to keep at 40 degrees.

Pour 1 gallon water, salt, entire 1.5 oz. container of pickling spice, salt and brown sugar into a pot, bring to boil, stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from heat add 5 cold beers and let brine cool to room temperature.

I set the pot outside in the cold temperatures to cool quickly. When cool, submerge the turkey, cut the oranges into quarters, stuff the cavity full and float the remaining quarters in the brine.

The turkey tends to float in the brine so I place a dinner plate or 2 on top of the turkey to keep it submerged in the liquid. Place container in the refrigerator, surround the container with ice or place outside.

Do not leave your turkey in the brine too long, approximately an hour per pound. You want the brine to flavor and tenderize the turkey, but if you leave it in the solution too long the meat can become mushy.

For an 18 pound turkey brine for 17-18 hours.

Now Dry Him Out

After sufficient brining, remove the turkey from the pot,  clear liquid and oranges from inside the cavity. Place on a broiler rack and let the turkey sit in the refrigerator, uncovered,  overnight to dry.

Many people choose not to brine their turkey as they feel that brining does not allow the turkey skin to brown when cooking. This step takes care of that, the skin needs to be dry to brown nicely.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Start Your Ovens!

Bake in a 325 degree oven, baking times vary per weight of turkey. Check the Butterball.com website for cook times. For an 18 pound turkey expect to roast for 3.5 to 4 hours.

Thanksgiving Day, cook the turkey. Before we cook the turkey we inject the meat for a bit more moist flavor.


1 bottle beer

48 oz. chicken stock

ground thyme

pumpkin pie spice

2 oranges, juiced

1 stick of butter (not for marinade, to place on top of turkey before baking.)

Mix ingredients together and use injector to put the marinade into the turkey. I first peel back the skin from the top of the turkey down into the breast area. The skin is still attached, just peeled back. Inject this liquid all over the turkey, the flavor will roast into the meat creating full flavored and moist meat.

Save remainder of marinade to baste the bird as it is cooking. Cut the stick of butter into 10-12 slices, place on top of bird and pull skin back over the butter, this will add flavor and fat to help brown the skin.

Place turkey in roaster, cut remaining oranges and stuff in the cavity for baking.

Cover the turkey for the first several hours of cooking, I place foil on top, so the skin does not burn. Baste several times while cooking with left-over marinade or with marinade resting in the bottom of your roasting pan.

The last hour of bake time I remove the foil cover to brown the skin. If you would like it to be well browned turn oven to 400 degrees for the last 20 minutes.

Check the interior temperature of the turkey before removing, 165 degrees in the breast indicates doneness.

Take turkey out and let it rest for 20 minutes or so before slicing!


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!



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My Demon Has A First Name…


Are you old enough…

To remember the Oscar Mayer song about bologna?

“My bologna has a first name is O-S-C-A-R,

MY bologna has a second name it’s M-A-Y-E-R…”

When I was growing up we heard this song quite often, I don’t hear it as much anymore.

Ha! This song is going to play on repeat in your head for the rest of the day.

You can thank me later!

But, back to the Demon.

I call my disease a Black Cloaked Demon. It has been wreaking havoc throughout my body for the last several years. It hides. Escaping detection. Maybe the Demon has “white coat syndrome” aka the ability to turn invisible whenever a doctor or nurse comes within 50 feet? Maybe I have a Super Villain Demon with invisibility powers?

After years of investigation we are now able to identify his first name. I always knew he had to be a man. He has a very dominate personality.

And his first name is Hughes. According to sheknows.com it is definitely a boy…


The name Hughes is a baby boy name.

People with this name have a deep inner desire to lead, organize, supervise, and to achieve status, power and wealth.

People with this name are excited by change, adventure, and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile, able to make constructive use of freedom. They fight being restricted by rules and conventions. They tend to be optimistic energetic, intelligent, and to make friends easily. They may be changeable, restless, untidy, and rebellious.”

Sounds like the Demon…except for the “makes friends easily” part. He is definitely rebellious!

“Antiphospholipid syndrome is a condition in which your blood is more likely to clot than usual. It’s sometimes also known as Hughes Syndrome. It can cause blood clots in your arteries and veins in any area of your body.

Antiphospholipid syndrome is a condition in which your blood is more likely to clot than usual. Because of this, the condition is sometimes called ‘sticky blood’.

Antiphospholipid syndrome is an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system, which usually helps your body to fight infection, attacks the healthy cells in your body by mistake.

Blood clots are usually a normal part of your body’s healing process; they help to seal small cuts or tears on blood vessel walls. This prevents you from losing too much blood. If you have antiphospholipid syndrome, blood clots can form and block the blood vessels of organs such as your heart and brain.” (From www.bupa.co.uk/)

APS (Antiphospholidid Syndrome)

Mimics Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. So that explains the numbness, shortness of breath, muscle pain and spasms, inability to walk or sustain movement for very long. Symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient.

The Neurologist feels that APS explains most of my physical symptoms, but not the neurological issues. And the only way that we will figure that out is with time.

APS pairs itself with other diseases often: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus or Multiple Sclerosis. At this point I am hoping that we will never know the Demon’s last name. The fight will continue.


After 10 weeks of rest the constant pain has abated. It is still there, but it whispers now instead of screaming. For that I am thankful. It was getting pretty dark on my horizon. Day upon day, week upon week, month upon month of bed rest and pain was getting to me. Actually, I think that what made it especially dark was the unknown. Not knowing if I would be able to clean my house, hang out with friends, write, or even have coherent thought processes. That was the hardest.

Now I have several good, active, hours a day. I can drive to the grocery store by myself and load and take care of the items purchased. It exhausts me, but I can do it. I can clean house, wash dishes, cook. And I have not had to use the wheelchair for the last three weeks. Yeehaw!!!

Exhaustion is hanging on, it takes me quite a bit longer to do things than before, but I am doing them. For that I am thankful!

There is no cure for APS. I take a blood pressure pill and aspirin everyday to keep my blood thin. And I am to avoid stress as it seems to be a trigger for a flare up. That, I suppose, is the biggest conundrum. How do you continue to be a wife, mother, an employee, business owner, a part of society-without stress? Especially when you are worried about finances due to the inability to hold a job? I am working on it.

Slowly, but surely I am coming back. Maybe not to who I was, but to who I will be.

For now, that is enough.


“My Demon has a first name it’s H-U-G-H-E-S…”

You’re welcome…for the ditty, playing itself over and over in your head!



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Blessings, Surprises And The Light At The End Of The Tunnel.


It has been…

Well, the last six weeks have seemed like forever. At times it was very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we hung on. By the skin of our teeth, but we did.

We have never lost our faith. We faltered a few times, but never fallen.

The last two years have shown us that we are not alone, ever. Even when we felt the most alone, we weren’t. We have received many blessings and we are grateful. More grateful than we can express.

We began to see the light at the end of the tunnel-it started as a spark and it grew exponentially-traveling from a family member, friend, acquaintance-then passed to another.

Not only did we see the light, we felt the warmth and the love.

Thank You. Thank You. THANK YOU!!!!!

Thank you for the prayers, the well wishes, the notes, the texts, the cards, the calls. They mean more than you know. They give us strength and hope and let us know that we are not alone.

Thank you for adding our family to prayer chains, it is amazing to meet people and find although you have never met-they have been praying for you. For your health, your faith, family and finances. We have been overwhelmed by the love that has been shared with us and for us.

Thank you for the dropped off meals, invites to dinner, the cupcakes, the eyes that you keep on my children, the support that you have shown my husband. These things have helped immensely.

Watching my life-from my bed-I am amazed at the people that we have in our lives. We are surrounded by the most incredible people.

Without life to distract me…

It leaves too much time to worry. Of course I worry about myself, I am so afraid that this is it, the best it will ever be. That this is all that I will ever have. But I mostly worry about my children and my husband. It is so hard to feel I am unable to give them everything that they need. Physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.

My daughter, Georgia, decided to be a part of the marching band this year. She devoted a huge portion of her summer break to band camp and practice. You could see how much she loved it. I have never seen her exude so much joy and “belonging”. She has found where she fits, where she thrives. And we wanted to be able to provide that for her.

When I became sick I also became unable to earn a paycheck. Not only were our family finances drastically reduced-my medical bills were once again becoming astronomical. Putting food on the table and paying the basic monthly bills has to come first and we were struggling to figure out how to pay the fees for marching band. It broke our hearts.

Then we received this email on my birthday:

“I’m writing to advise that Georgia’s fees have been paid in full  by an anonymous individual.”

What a weight this took off our shoulders. If our “Anonymous Donor” is reading this-know that this deeply appreciated, there is no greater gift that you could have given us. The gift of happiness for our child. May you be blessed indeed.

And last but not least, our neighbors knocked on the door a few weeks ago and presented us with a wheelchair. I had been unable to attend Georgia’s Band Performances because of weakness. I could not walk down the driveway, let alone walk the distance from the parking lot to the performance area. We had looked into renting a wheelchair, but the expense prohibited it. I have now been able to attend two of the Marching Band events and I enjoyed watching my daughter and her friends!





Once again, I want to Thank You. Taking time out of your day to think of us, to show up for us, to pray for our family…I cannot express how much it means to us. You have helped us stay strong, to keep the faith. To know that no matter what happens, we are not alone.


May you all “Be Blessed Indeed”!







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Like A Tree That Falls In The Forest…

If I cannot feel my feet, am I really walking?

If I cannot feel my feet, am I really walking?

If I ignore my issues, will they fail to be issues?

I walk down the hallway, at work, on the long trek to the time clock. Each day the hallway seems longer with its wildly patterned carpet. It gets harder and harder the further I walk to put one foot in front of the other. My chest heaves with the effort to breath as I travel the length of the hall. It is not that far, I refuse to believe that I am winded, as if I have just walked miles.

The patterning of the flooring is beautiful, but distorts my vision and I focus my eyes upward, fearing the double vision that is threatening. My legs feel extremely weak and I am afraid that I am going to fall.

How had it come to this?

Just a week ago I had taken Georgia, our daughter, to register for school. I had not been feeling well, but I wanted to do this with her. Registering as a Freshman is a big deal. She is growing up so fast, and I did not want to miss another milestone. And I did not want to ask Bruce to take more time off work to do another thing, one more thing, that I did not feel strong enough to do.

When we arrived at the school we had to walk quite a ways to get to the registration area. I was a bit winded, legs a bit weak, but I trudged on. We saw a line wending through a large room, there were stations to stop along the way manned by multiple volunteers to assist us through the morass.

The room was loud. Conversations leaping around and over us, I tried to stay focused on what we needed to accomplish. As we moved from one helpful volunteer to another, who were shouting, or though it seemed to me, directives. Not only was I having issues physically, mentally I became overwhelmed.

Halfway through the line we came to the station were Georgia would receive her school ID, all of her information would be stored on the card, requiring her thumb print. With ID in hand, thumbprint scanned we needed to place a deposit into her lunch account. As we follow the moving line I am attempting to write a check, converse with a helpful volunteer, Georgia chooses this moment to grab my arm to tell me something, and another volunteer is snapping her fingers at me white barking repeatedly, “HERE, HERE!”

I lost it.

Me, who multitasks with the best of them. Me, who can make a drink, tell a joke, listen to one conversation with one ear and use the other ear to hear a client 40 feet away wishing aloud for a refill on their wine, pour their wine, finish the joke, answer the query heard with the first ear, and deliver the wine to the clients 40 feet away- without batting an eye. (Yeah, makes me tired just to think of it, but that was normal for me…once upon a time.)

I pull myself back together, we move on through the line. But now I am exhausted. We walk for miles to find her locker and her classes.  I stand up against the wall, fearing that my legs are going to give out, and I am trying not to rush this. I am trying not to ruin something else for my daughter simply because I don’t “feel good”.

I try.

But I do not succeed and I feel myself losing the strength in my legs as I slide down the wall. Hoping that it looks nonchalant, not totally lame or uncool. I stay there, thankful when minutes later another exhausted mom sits beside me and we watch our girls putting together their lockers.

After some time we decide to leave and go school shopping, it is much more difficult walking out than it was walking in. And I needed to go home and rest a bit before going on with our day. I am now not only exhausted I am extremely nauseous.

I never really recovered physically.

And each morning as I trek down the hallway at work I am reminded of my weakness. Physically and mentally. I just need to make it through another day, and another, and the next.

One numb foot after the other.



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Semantic Satiation-Saying Something So Many Times It Loses Meaning


“I don’t feel good…”

Seems to be the most often said phrase in my vocabulary. Over the last two years I have uttered these words again and again. Even I am sick of hearing it.

When something is said over and over it seems to lose its meaning. I know what I mean when I say “I don’t feel good.” Maybe I should throw in a few more descriptive adjectives, shake it up a bit, instead of uttering the all encompassing “I don’t feel good”.

If you are a parent you know exactly what “semantic satiation” is…after hearing your child repeat “mom, mom, mom, MOM, MOM, MOM!” over and over and over again. Not only do the words lose meaning, you tune it out and swear that you are going to change your name.

“I don’t feel good” has taken on the same concept…

Making a Doctor Appointment…

I knew that things were different this time. I wasn’t thinking clearly. It is one thing to have physical issues, but when the stupid “Demon” started messing with my brain and my competence, well…that was a different story.

So I called my Doctor, I have spoken with his team so many times that I do not even have to tell them my name when I call, they recognize my voice. They are a very caring team and have gone above and beyond for me throughout the entire time that I have been a patient.

They have stood beside me these last two years, willing to try just about anything to relieve my symptoms, to send me to many varied specialists. My GP believed in me and my nameless disease. He stood by me.

But, I guess he got sick of hearing “I don’t feel good” too.

He was frustrated.

So, at our last appointment he prescribed me an anti-anxiety med, thinking that maybe this was “all in my head”. I left his office in a haze of disbelief. I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that the one person I had counted on, really counted on, for help was no longer in my corner.

I realize…

That the mind is extremely powerful. And the messed up mind is just as powerful as the one of a young prodigy, as the brain in an award winning journalist, or a Noble Prize winner. I get that. The mind can make you achieve greatness, find a cure for disease, or make you believe that you are the only one who can save the world from aliens.

I get that.

So, on my first day off of work I took the anti-anxiety pill. I wanted to be home when I took it, not sure of its effect. It was a low dose, 25 MG, really…what harm could it do?

At this point I really had nothing to lose, my hands, feet, lips and tongue had been numb for over a week, my mind was not completing thoughts, I was having problems walking, words were getting stuck in my mouth, and I was tired. Oh, so tired. I resented the fact that my Doctor thought I was crazy, but I was willing to try just about anything to get better. Two years is a long time to feel crappy. A really long time.

I was home alone, Bruce had gone to see his family in Michigan, the kids were off doing their own thing, but I took it anyway. What harm could this teeny-tiny pill do?

Famous last words?

The first night I felt a bit off, not realizing until Bruce called me exactly how “off” I was. I stuttered as I talked, getting stuck on words and sounds, my tremor in my head and hands worsened. I assured him that I was fine and that I was going to bed soon.

I did not take the second pill until he got back home the next day. My speech became more broken and it was hard for me to communicate my thoughts, the words would fall out of my head before I could say them, the nausea was overwhelming, and my entire body felt like one huge misfiring nerve. My skin was humming. I was dizzy and I felt horrible.

We thought about going to the ER, it was that bad, but decided to give it time to work out of my system. For hours I felt like a live electrical current was running through my body, thankfully it subsided.

I did not take the pill again. But it was my downfall. My speech took days to return (at times I still have issues, especially when stressed), the tremors and the pain in my arms and legs were/are intense.

Monday was my day off work and I was hoping that by Tuesday the pill would be out of my system so I could return to my job. You know what they say about the best laid plans, right? On Monday morning my boss called, asking if could I come into work this afternoon? A co-worker had called in sick and they needed help.

After hearing my broken speech and disorientation they covered my shifts for the week in hopes that I would be able to come back soon.

The search is on…

I know that I do not want to be sick. I am not making myself sick. And I begin to look for someone else, anyone else, who will search for answers to my ailment. A Doctor that will stand with me, by me, in support of finding the name of the “Demon”.

I sent emails, looking for someone who knew of a good Neurologist. Then I emailed the Doctor that I saw at MSU last year, outlining all of my symptoms and asking for help. My GP’s office was looking for someone here in Fort Wayne that I could see ASAP, to no avail. The soonest appointment I could book was 5 weeks in the future. Five weeks!

Stress sets in, Bruce attempts to calm me down, and then I feel it. The numbness in my hands and feet begins to rapidly travel up my legs and down my arms, my entire face is tingling. Although I try to calm myself it is too little, too late. My entire body is numb.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I am lost. I need help. But I cannot find it. I cannot feel my body.  I am lost.

I begin talking to God. “Please,”I ask, “help me. I need help. I cannot do this anymore.”

I lay down, trying to relieve my stress, I am mad, so absolutely crazed by the fact that I can not get help.

I am numb, my brain is not working right, I am now off of work, and I cannot get any help. My Doctor thinks I am nuts, and no relief is in sight. None.

Although I had not received an answer…

From the Neurologist/Ophthalmologist at MSU via email, I decide to call. What could it hurt?

Once again, I am shown, that I am not alone. I never have been, no matter how much I doubt or disparage. No matter how weak my faith is.

There was a cancellation, for the following day,  in less than 24 hours. Mere minutes after I asked for help-it is handed to me.

I take it.

And before I can begin to plan, to figure out how I am going to get to MSU, before I insert my human instinct to control the situation, before anything…

I bow my head in thanks.

I am not alone.






P.S. Just wanted to note that the med prescribed by my Doc should not have hurt me, he did not give me something that he should not have, I just had an extremely bad reaction. Still love my Doc and his team and will continue to see them and count on them. Although I was upset-he had to explore every avenue. Consider that avenue closed!


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A Bit Here~A Piece There…


Although I was worried…

After my tussle with the fax machine, I tried to put it behind me. But it was a niggle, a constant annoying thought, in the back of my mind. I continued to work, taking care to minimize my mistakes.

As I sat with clients at my desk, inputting information into the computer, I began to notice that my typing skills were floundering. Reading back over the words that I had typed I noticed that the words I had written had all of the right letters in them, but the letters were out of order. Jumbled into odd combinations.

I began to watch how I typed and it seemed like my hands were getting the message, but that it was delayed. I knew what keys I wanted to hit, but my reaction times were off. I think that my right hand was typing too slowly. So the letters were right, just not in the right order.

It took me longer to complete client orders and I began to turn my computer monitor towards my clients so that they could point out my spelling errors. I would joke about how my typing was off that day, the client was unaware that it was becoming an ongoing issue. But I knew.

Most of the mistakes I made…

I caught. Some I didn’t. They were always small things, mostly on completion. I could not seem to follow through. I attempted to go from the beginning to the end of a process without dropping a step. Somewhere along the way I would lose a bit here or a piece there. I just did not realize it.

Knowing that I was making errors in typing I made sure that I paid attention to what I wrote. Underneath, in my subconscious, anxiety was building, but I was unaware how anxious that I actually was.

Then, although I knew I was doing it when I did it, I began to become a bit dyslexic with numbers. I could see them correctly, but when I would recite them to a client, such as an address or a phone number, I would say the numbers out of order. It was so weird to see 428 as I heard myself repeat 482. It irritated me, and I am sure that I confused the clients. Reassuring them that I had typed it right, but reciting it wrong.

I knew that I was saying it incorrectly as I was saying it, but I could not stop myself, my mouth was not saying what my eyes were seeing.

A bit here and a piece there.

But I was not going to give up. I had beat the “Demon”, for a year and a half. I wanted to continue as the victor. I needed to win.

Over the next few weeks I began to notice the numbness. I had complained to my GP about a metallic taste in my mouth, it had persisted for months. And it was one of my symptoms in the early days after the stroke.

At least I had thought it was a metallic taste, but I now realize that my lips were numb. Odd feeling, that. When I would run my tongue over my lips to wet them, I could barely feel it. It seemed like there was a barrier between the two.

A few days later I realized that my hands and feet were tingly, “dizzy” I called it. Almost numb, but not quite. Almost like they were on the verge of falling asleep, but they just would not wake up. It was constant.

I am sure that the anxiety in my subconscious was building at a voracious rate, but I kept tamping it down, trying my best to ignore all of the symptoms. I would make my way through the long day at work, go home, rest, eat dinner, take a bath and go to bed. Everything that I did was to enable me to get through another day.

My life seemed to be moving by me…

I missed events that I really wanted to take part in. The energy just wasn’t there. I was tapped. Putting one foot in front of the other, one numb foot in front of the other, was all that I could manage.




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I Knew, Deep Down, I Was In Trouble…


It was a normal day…

As normal as they get. I was at work and a co-worker asked me to send a fax for her. So I popped it in the machine and sent it. Simple as that. Done.

She made a comment about how I put the document into the machine, questioning if i did it correctly. How dare she? Seriously, I fax 30 or 40 times a day. Of course I did it correctly. Duh?!?! Slightly irritated with her inane questions I went on with my day.

A while later I receive an email (from someone that I had sent multiple faxes) stating that all the documents I had sent were blank, she asked if I could resend them.

I had a bit of a niggle.

A bit later I receive a phone call from another office, one that I had just faxed moments earlier. All the faxes that they had received were blank also.

The niggle turned into a slight panic. Over the last 24 hours I had sent a large number of faxes. Important paperwork. Time sensitive. I go back over all the paper work that I could recall sending, hoping that I could remember everything. I decided to resend everything that I had faxed over the past two days, if duplicates were received-well, then they were. If the recipients were irritated by the repetition or the waste-too bad. I needed to make sure that they received the paperwork!

As I am writing this I am getting the same anxious feeling that I had that day-it was the second week in July-although that was more than a month ago, I can feel it as if it happened yesterday. There is a tightness in my chest, my vision is threatening to double, a slight panic is running through my whole body.

After I gathered all of the documents together I moved to the fax machine intending to resubmit each and every one.

This is the moment…

The second that everything changed.

I could not remember how to use the fax machine.


Standing there, staring at the machine, a machine that I used often, I sent faxes everyday, lots of faxes, and I could not remember how to place the papers. Did I place them front facing or did I put them face down. I stood there, alternatively staring and blinking, blinking and staring.

I expected the answer to come. But it did not. How could the answer not come? How could I not picture in my mind how to send the fax?

I panicked a bit more, not sure what to do.

Not only did I use this machine many times during the course of a day, for years, in my past life I sold office equipment. I programmed these machines, set them up, trained the customers how to use them, for years. Now, I could not remember simple operations.

In fact, I recall a vivid dream involving a fax machine from my past. I was working really hard to make my niche in the sales world. One night I awoke in the middle of the night, heading to the bathroom, when I came back into the bedroom I awoke Bruce to tell him that the faxes that I sent to “Cross Creek” were not sending and I was very agitated. I told him that I repeatedly tried to send them but that they were not going.

He had just been wakened from a deep sleep and he was confused for a moment. Becoming more confused as I kept repeating that the faxes were not being received. The dream was quite vivid and 15+ years later I remember it in detail. Bruce realized at that point that I was sleep walking and woke me up. I protested for a few more moments…Cross Creek, faxes…etc. Then I woke up.

I was a bit hung up on the fax machine, and maybe having a bit of withdrawal from my favorite soap opera. What is it with me and fax machines!?

I wan’t going to ask how to send the dog-gone thing.

How could I ask? My boss would know that I was an idiot.

I thought I was an idiot, how could she not feel the same?

So, I held my breath and turned the papers face down and sent them to another office. A few minutes later I called them, had they received my fax? Was it blank?

They thanked me for fixing the fax machine.

I had not fixed anything.

In fact, this is the moment that I knew that I was in trouble.

I had not fixed anything, in fact, it was the beginning.

Just the beginning.




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I Am So Fickle…

(I found this in my drafts, written a few months ago. It is so hard to believe that she has been gone for almost 3 months, I still miss her everyday.)

(I found this in my drafts, written a few months ago. It is so hard to believe that she has been gone for almost 3 months, I still miss her everyday.)

As adverse as I am to change,

I am recently realizing that much of the time I am the catalyst for that change. And that pisses me off. Rarely do I curse in my writings, but I am realizing how human I am. Not that I thought I was super-human, but I expect more of myself.

Today I broke down crying while sweeping the floor. Yeah, I know, cleaning house is sometimes enough to make any grown-up cry. But seriously?!?!?!?

I cried because the more I clean the less dog hair there will be in our home. Two weeks ago I HATED having dog hair all over…all over everything! HATED it! But now I know, just two weeks later, what dog hair means. And I wear it, all over my clothing, like a badge. I don’t obsessively brush it off my black pants, or tape roll myself before leaving the house. Because when the dog hair is gone…well, it will be gone. Forever.

Silly, I know. But while I have the hair…all over the couch, the carpets, our bed…I still have her. Just bits and pieces. But soon those bits and pieces will be gone. And there will be nothing tangible of her, nothing to touch, or none of her touching us.

Irrational? Yes. Fickle? Yes. And oh so human.


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“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.” ― T.S. Eliot

birthday useOnce again it’s that time of year.

In a few days it will be my birthday.

As much as I hate to admit,  I am “that person”. We all know someone that is hard to find a present for, I am one of them.

Normally I like to get practical items as gifts, crazy I know. But if I receive a vacuum, mixer, or bath towels as a gift then I can buy myself something that I want.

Two years ago,

On my 45th birthday, I got sick and I spent my birthday in bed. In fact, I spent the next 7 months in bed.

Last year, my 46th birthday, we had a party. We invited all of our closest friends. As sick as I had been the previous year we were afraid I wouldn’t have a 46th birthday, I wanted to celebrate life.

As you can see from the photos above, we had a great time.

This year,

I want something far less practical. You could say it is the most frivolous thing ever. Silly. Foolish.

I want a mulligan.

I am not a golfer. In fact, the few times that I participated in the sport, I ended up in the emergency room.

Regardless, a mulligan is at the top of my birthday gift list this year.

mul·li·gan   noun \ˈmə-li-gən\

“In golf, a mulligan is a stroke that is replayed from the spot of the previous stroke without penalty, due to an errant shot made on the previous stroke. The result is, as the hole is played and scored, as if the first errant shot had never been made.”

In other words, I want a “do over”. More than anything.

I have been mulling this over today, as if it were truly a real possibility.

So, let’s play a little game of “what if”.

If you could have a mulligan, a “do over” if you will, what would you choose?

Which birthday would you return to, if you could?

Would you choose your 18th? 21st?

Do you want to return to your youth? Years before all the responsibilities of adulthood replaced your wild spontaneity?

I would love to go back to my 40th.

Not that long ago. Just 7 years in the past.

I don’t really want to be younger. I am not wanting to wish away responsibilities or wrinkles.

Looking back, to my 40th year I now realize that we lived in a “sweet spot”.

Bruce and I had been married for 8 years, we made it past the 7 year itch, and we were happy, really happy.

We had purchased a home the year before, and we loved it. Our neighbors were great, we got together often. Kids were everywhere, running from one house into another. Bonfires, cookouts, drinks on the patio. It was perfect.

This was the year that we found Rosie, our boxer baby. She brought so much joy into our lives. Now, I miss her so much, I would love to have her in our lives again.

Between the kids, Bruce and Rosie our home was filled with love and laughter.

I also had a job that I loved. Hartley’s was not only my place of employment, it was like home. Every single day I got to go to work, hang out, eat great food, see friends, make new ones, enjoy a cocktail, laugh and laugh some more.

It was the first time in my life that I truly felt like I fit.

Hartley’s was the place where “everyone knew your name”, and if they did not know you when you came in-they definitely knew you before you left. And, most likely, plans had been made to meet up again on your next visit.

When I worked at Hartley’s my name changed, I was no longer Nikki Frank-Hamilton, I was Nikki From Hartley’s, same initials though! It was meant to be. No matter where Bruce and I would go from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to just around the corner…everyone knew Nikki From Hartley’s.

I am sure that we had something or other happen that year, but I can’t remember any really bad or stressful times.

This would be my mulligan and although I know that it not possible, I want to believe what T.S. Eliot said, so this year as I blow out my birthday candles, with just one breath…I will be wishing for a mulligan.

“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”

So, on Sunday if you find yourself sitting at a quaint little bar, martini in hand, sit back, let me tell you a joke or two. I will introduce you to all the regulars and serve you some incredible food. I promise that we will show you a good time. And if we are incredibly lucky, a la the movie “Groundhog Day”, I will see you again the next day!

Looking forward to it!






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“I Know That You Are In There…”1990 (Chapter 44)


“Open The Door…”

Cue the melodramatic music, and watch-in disbelief- as the heroine, in slow motion, reaches out her hand to turn the door knob, opening the door to let the evil inside…

That was not going to be me, I felt like I was sleep walking, this was the stuff that nightmares were made of.

At least the nightmares that I had been having for the last several months. What a surreal moment, I knew that it could not be true, that I should pinch myself to make sure that I was awake. Standing in front of the door in my pajamas, waiting for the Director to yell “CUT!”.

Luckily, sanity took hold and I pulled my hand away from the door at the last second.

In my dreams I had never felt my heart beat so hard, threatening to burst out of my chest.

Or felt the hair on my arms stand straight up.

This was real, I was awake.

Even though Larry and I had planned, for weeks, for every possible situation, all our planning had been for naught, this had not even been a possibility.

Hubby was supposed to land in the states, TODAY.

On the West Coast, TODAY.

He should not be HERE, not NOW.

But he was.

No more wondering, in fear. No more worrying myself to death as I waited.

I had the answer to the question, “When would Hubby arrive?”

I had been fearing the question.

Now, knowing, I feared the answer more.

At this point in the story…

Everyone asks, “What did you do?”

This seems to be the pivotal point.

What I did, at this very moment, could change the story-line.

Right here, right now.

This moment defined my future.

I had several options.

I could have opened the door, allowed him to have his say. Let him grovel in person, instead of over the phone. I knew that everyone expected me to do this.

To see the error of my ways. To rip the Scarlet Letter off of my chest, denouncing my relationship with Larry.  Falling at the feet of my Hubby sobbing for forgiveness.

To pack my bags and return to my marriage and our home.

Looking in from the outside, maybe this is what everyone thought that I should do.

After all, I was only 21 years old, I had made mistakes, I was too young to understand marriage. My hubby was a respected member of our military. Beloved by his family.

This could have been the answer, it would be the end of this story, our reunion morphed into a “Happily Ever After”.

But, I knew things that the others, those looking in from the outside, did not.

I knew that hubby had hurt someone in the past.

In the recent past.

I also knew that the person that he had hurt was a woman.

A woman who was just doing her job.

When his buddies told me the story they laughed it off.

He was drunk.

It was a boyish misdemeanor.

He missed me.

He missed me so much that he got so incredibly drunk.

So incredibly drunk that he did not remember.

He missed me so much that he got so drunk that he hurt someone, a woman, and he did not remember.

Harlequin Romance Addict…

That was me.

All I heard, all that registered, was that he missed me.

He missed me so much that he got drunk.

He missed me so much that he got drunk and that he did not remember what had happened.

Actually, all I heard was HE MISSED ME.

Had anyone ever loved me so much that they did unspeakable things-because missing ME-hurt so much?

How romantic.

This must be true love. I was the only thing that he needed in life.

Being with me would make things better. All would be right in our world-if we were together.

I dismissed the fact that he had hurt someone. I am not sure that I even heard that part of the story.

I was hung up on the fact that he needed me, he loved me, he missed me.

No one had ever loved me that much.


This had to be it.

The love that I had been searching for my entire life, the whole twenty years of it. I was so desperate to be loved, and loved desperately, none of the other details mattered.

But, right now, in this very moment…

Standing in front of the door, wearing very little clothing, I felt naked. Inside and out. All of the pretenses were gone. Over the last six months the rose-colored glasses had come off.

No longer did I believe that the man on the other side of the door was my one true love.

My other half.

My soul mate.

No longer did I believe that he loved me. No longer did I believe that my absence had pushed him to drink himself into a stupor, absolving him of his actions.

I now saw him for what he was. When he turned and coldly walked away from me in the airport, just 7 months prior, he had given me clarity. I could see him now, who he really was.

Standing in front of the door…

Hand outstretched to turn the knob, I woke up-quickly. A decision had to be made.

All of the expectations weighed heavily, the expectations of friends and family, my expectations of myself. The fairy-tale dreams I had had for my future. But all of these expectations were weighed against my fears.

Fears for my physical and mental well-being. Fears that pointed to a lifetime of terror.

In this very second I had to decide, were my fears real? Was I over-dramatizing the situation?

As my hand hung in mid-air in front of the door my life hung in the balance. My mind was spinning, searching for the answer, and then I heard it, from deep inside.

The last words that were spoken before the connection had been lost.

Words spoken in the Philippines that echoed around the world, “I am going to kill you.” 

I slowly backed away from the door, cowering into the dark bedroom. I sat thanking God that I had not been awake, that I had not yet gotten up to make breakfast, that I had not turned on the television. There were no sounds coming from the inside of the apartment, nothing to give away my presence.

Even though I knew he could not hear me, I held my breath, attempting to wait him out. Soon, he would leave.

I prayed that he would leave.

That he would not break down the down.

This was not going to be the day I died.

I was alone, in the dark, in a life before cell phones. I could not text anyone to come to my rescue.

I could not cower in the dark and call someone-anyone, our only phone was in the living room, near the front door.

Never had I been so appreciative for the lack of windows in the apartment.

I could not see out, but, thankfully he could not see in.

Once again the apartment became a “rabbit hole” and I cowered inside, hiding from evil.






Did you miss the Beginning?

Read the whole the story….


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